“For freedom Christ has set us free…” Galatians 5:1
I have a love-hate relationship with flying. I love to travel, and I could spend hours exploring airports, but I hate actually flying on a plane. Now there are a lot of reasons for this: the take off scares the mess out of me, turbulence makes me want to crawl under my seat and cry, and landing is just plain terrifying. But most importantly, it’s the fact that I feel trapped. I know that I can’t get off the plane while we’re in midair, but I hate not having the ability to control my surroundings and my own safety. Can I fly a plane? Heck no. But that need for control is enough to make me consider getting a pilot’s license.
All of this begs the question: why is having control so important to me? Why do I feel the desire to scream and get off the plane, just because then I would be in control? I honestly don’t have an answer. Here’s what I do know: I can’t control everything in life, and that’s probably best because then most things would not go well. I’ve had to learn to give myself the freedom of allowing God to take over.
Let’s be real here for a sec. The thought of giving full lordship of our lives to God is terrifying, and not just for a type A person like myself. The idea that He could send me to a third world country as a full time missionary, or that maybe I’m called to a life of singleness, or even that He wants me to step up and share my story in a public setting – these are all huge possibilities. And while these may seem overwhelming, I know that through Christ’s power in me, I can handle it. Giving God control of my life looks different every day; it can mean choosing not to worry about what’s to come, and more often than not, it means placing the burdens of my heart at His feet.
One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from Luke 18:9-14, and it may seem like it doesn’t quite fit the point I’m trying to get across, but hang with me. It’s the story of a tax collector praying in the temple, and he’s so distraught over his sins that he won’t even look up. He instead beats his chest and says, “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” (v. 14) This is how we should come to the cross. Whether we’re asking for forgiveness, seeking Godly wisdom, venting our frustrations, or praising His goodness – we come before the throne humbly; acknowledging our imperfections and then giving it all to God. This is why I love that scripture: I see myself in the tax collector – sinful, unworthy, broken – but I’m reassured by this: God sees my needs, and the desire I have to control my surroundings or carry my burdens alone. If I will just come before Him and simply ask, then He takes that weight and allows me to stand up, brush the dirt from my knees, and walk way free.
You see, there’s a kind of joyful anxiety that comes with giving the reigns over to the One who is so much smarter, all-knowing, and more powerful than you are. I rejoice in the realization that I don’t have to carry the burden of the unknown on my shoulders. Because no matter where I go, what I do, or what comfort zone He calls me out of, I can trust that He’s got me. And He’s not letting go.
That promise isn’t just for me, however, it’s for everyone. It’s for the young girl who struggles to find her worth and identity in relationships and popularity. For the college student who fears what his parents will say when he tells them he wants to go on the mission field instead of finishing school, and for every man or woman who struggles to make a life-changing decision for their family. Don’t carry the burden or need for control on your weak and trembling shoulders, let the Almighty God lift your head and place them in His ever-capable hands.